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Here is an opportunity to add a short introduction which permanently sits at the top of this blog page.
  • 18 Jan 2017 9:53 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Good evening ladies & gentlemen.  Welcome to this special farewell reception and a Happy New Year to you all.  My name is Derek Syme and I am the president of AmCham in New Zealand.

    Firstly, I would like to welcome our guests of honour Ambassador Mark Gilbert and Nancy Gilbert.

    I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our other VIPs here tonight

    • -        His Worship the Mayor, Phil Goff
    • -        Deputy Mayor, Bill Cashmore
    • -        US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Candy Green
    • -        US Consul, Melanie Higgins
    • -        Other diplomatic corps members
    • -        Sir Bob Harvey and Dame Wendy Pye

    I would like to thank EY for allowing us to use their facilities for this evening’s farewell reception for US Ambassador Mark Gilbert and Nancy Gilbert.

    Thank you also to Mike Smith and IBM for your sponsorship of the evening.

    Well it has been a whirlwind 2 years since Ambassador Gilbert & Nancy arrived in NZ.  Without scarcely a pause, they have undertaken their roles with enthusiasm and focus that is second to none.  The Gilbert’s have crammed in so much that it is hard to know where to begin when talking about their great achievements.

    There have been several significant highlights during the Ambassador’s tenure over the last 2 years and I will touch on just a few…:

    • 1)    The visit of US Vice President Joe Biden including a highly successful reception, where the Vice President spoke and met a number of our members. – The night was a real highlight for me as I managed to get a great selfie with the Vice President!
    • 2)    The arrival of the USS Sampson, the first US warship to visit NZ for over 30 years and its key role in assisting with the Kaikoura earthquake, in a time of real need.
    • 3)    The visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to NZ and his trip with the Ambassador to Antarctica.
    • 4)    The signing of TPP in Auckland by USTR Ambassador Michael Froman.  Ambassador Gilbert played a significant role in securing Ambassador Froman to speak to our members following the signing.
    • 5)    The inaugural Air NZ flight & service to Houston where the Ambassador joined the trade mission with Minister Steven Joyce.
    • 6)    We have also had the arrival of United & American Airlines services from San Francisco & Los Angeles, furthering business and tourism links with the USA.
    • 7)    The Ambassador lead highly successful business delegations from NZ to the Select USA Summits in Washington in 2015 & 2016.
    • 8)    The Ambassador and Nancy joined the AmCham board visit to AmCham in Sydney in 2015.  He also played a significant leadership role in the success of AmCham Australia’s visit to NZ late last year and his participation has ensured stronger ties between the two AmChams. 

    He has worked diligently to reach as much of the New Zealand business community as possible, giving his time to speak to social entrepreneurs and tech start-ups, as well as larger corporations and industry groups.

    Ambassador Gilbert has also worked tirelessly to bring together academia, industry and government in order to better facilitate an exchange of knowledge and skills.  This included the visit to NZ of Dr. Dave Newman (NASA’s Deputy Director) and Ambassador Gilbert is following Rocketlab’s progress with keen interest.

    In summary, the ambassadors’ energy levels are truly remarkable and an 8 hour working day is completely irrelevant.

    But it is not all about Ambassador Gilbert, as Nancy has also played an important and significant role supporting him.

    One of Nancy’s highlights was the Wahine Toa leadership conference which brought together 140 Maori women from across the country.  This group held discussions on civic engagement, women’s empowerment, and networking among communities of Maori women and across the Pacific.

    The Gilberts successfully secured President Obama’s Special Assistant for Native American Affairs, Karen Diver, to keynote at the conference and engage with iwi leaders, civil society organizations, youth groups, and parliamentarians throughout New Zealand.

    Nancy is also a big promoter of the tourism relationship, especially with her expertise as a former business owner of a tour company in Florida.  This shone through when the Embassy hosted the “National Parks” IMAX film.

    The Gilberts have also championed the exceptional growth in NZ wine sales to the USA… (please note that Ambassador Gilbert may have been “personally” responsible for significantly increasing those numbers!)

    But it is not just what you have both done during your time in New Zealand…  it is how you have done it…  And on this front, we think its been all class.

    You have not only achieved a huge amount but you have created many lasting friendships along the way.

    For those of you following the Ambassador and Nancy on Twitter you will have seen many accolades flowing from throughout NZ over the last week which shows how much of a difference they have both made.

    They have even found time to pull together a “YouTube” photo montage of everyone they have met in NZ during their time here.  They are without doubt one of the best tour guides and official photographers in NZ, having taken some amazing pictures of NZ’s best scenery.  Perhaps the NZ Tourism Board should seriously consider a consultant’s role for them both in the future!

    The Ambassador and Nancy have lifted diplomacy to a whole new level and while we wish there were “4 more years”, we have to say farewell for now. You will always be welcome back in NZ and we wish you all the very best for whatever the future holds for you.

    We would like to present you with a small token of our appreciation which reads… “In recognition of the outstanding contribution you have made to the United States/New Zealand relations during your time in New Zealand.  You have been a true friend and supporter of New Zealand and AmCham.”

  • 12 Jan 2017 9:24 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)
    Business Community Optimistic, Realistic, and Ready for Meaningful Reform to Reignite Spirit of American Enterprise

    U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said today in his annual "State of American Business" address that fostering stronger, faster, and more broadly shared economic growth must be the top priority for the nation's leaders. [Link to full text of speech.]

    As he shared the sense of optimism and opportunity felt by the business community at this point of national transition, Donohue urged policymakers to heed the message from America's Main Streets: It's time to reignite the spirit of enterprise through meaningful reform in Washington.

    "At this moment of significant transition for our country, American businesses large and small are optimistic about the year ahead - optimistic and also realistic about the hard work that will be required to make our optimism a reality," said Donohue. "We see a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact major reforms that could transform the American economy from a low-growth to a high-growth economy.

    "That's how we bring the jobs back. That's how we revitalize hard-hit communities. And that's how we give every citizen the opportunity to pursue the American dream," continued Donohue.

    Donohue used the address to unveil and outline the U.S. Chamber's "American Growth Agenda" for 2017, a set of policy priorities on which the Chamber will focus its efforts in order to expand jobs, incomes, and opportunities for Americans through economic growth.

    The U.S. Chamber's "American Growth Agenda" will serve as the foundation for its advocacy efforts in the coming year, informing the organization's work with the new administration and Congress. As the leading voice for free enterprise in America, and for the sake of fostering growth, the Chamber will fight for regulatory relief and reform; for increasing energy production; for modernizing the nation's infrastructure; for overhauling the tax code; for expanding trade; for educating and training an exceptional workforce; and for fixing our legal system.

    Over the course of 2017, the U.S. Chamber will put its "American Growth Agenda" to the test, gathering local chambers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, employers, and employees for a series of regional summits, which are designed to provide a forum for job creators, risk takers, and those in pursuit of the American dream to talk about what they need to succeed - and for policymakers to listen.

    "We're going to create a powerful grassroots business army, made up of businesses of all sizes from all sectors, and ensure that no one can ignore their voice - not in policy, not in politics, not in government, and not in the public square," said Donohue. "The reforms we seek here in Washington - and which we can achieve if we are patient and realistic - can reignite the spirit of enterprise across the nation. If we do that, there is nothing our country cannot achieve."

    To watch Donohue's 2017 "State of American Business" address, please visit our website.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

  • 03 Nov 2016 5:37 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Minister of Trade Todd McClay has welcomed the second reading of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Amendment Bill in Parliament today.

    “TPP is our biggest trade deal to date, and presents a huge opportunity for our economy, adding an estimated $2.7 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP once it has been fully phased in,” says Mr McClay.

    TPP is designed to create a level, transparent, and predictable playing field for trade within the Asia Pacific region. The TPP Amendment Bill includes changes to New Zealand law that will allow New Zealand to ratify the Agreement.

    “TPP sets high standards in many areas. New Zealand is already an open, transparent and trade-friendly country.

    “All primary legislative changes that do need to take place prior to TPP’s entry into force are addressed in the Bill currently before Parliament. The Government’s objective in this process has been to ensure New Zealand complies with its TPP obligations in a manner least disruptive to our current policies and regulations,” says Mr McClay.

    The select committee received 85 written and oral submissions from the public, and 20 of those submissions contained no comment on the drafting of the Bill.

    “The select committee made some important amendments. For example, by making clear that changes to New Zealand law introduced by the TPP Bill will only commence on the date TPP enters into force for New Zealand.”

    The Government expects the Bill to be passed this year. Once the Bill has been passed and other regulatory changes are in place, the Government will be ready to formally ratify the agreement. TPP could come into force by late 2017 or early 2018, once countries have completed their own processes for ratifying TPP.

    For more information on the TPP Amendment Bill and the legislative changes that are being proposed, please refer to the Second Reading speech delivered earlier today before Parliament

  • 18 Oct 2016 9:19 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key.

    “I am pleased to announce that the USS Sampson, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will attend the Royal New Zealand Navy’s International Naval Review in November,” Mr Key says.

    “Under New Zealand’s nuclear free legislation I am required to be satisfied that any foreign military ship entering New Zealand is not nuclear armed.

    “I have granted this approval after careful consideration of the advice provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    “New Zealand’s legislation also does not allow ships which are nuclear propelled into New Zealand and the advice I received from officials is that the USS Sampson is not nuclear powered.

    “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review.  This process has been used for all military ships visiting New Zealand since the legislation was enacted.

    “New Zealand looks forward to the USS Sampson’s participation in the International Naval Review to mark the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary. The visit is a further reflection of the depth of the bilateral relationship with the United States,” Mr Key says.

    The International Naval Review is being held in Auckland 17-22 November 2016.

  • 26 Sep 2016 4:53 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Prime Minister John Key has reinforced the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York today.

    Mr Key told the Council he welcomes the priority that the US Administration has placed on TPP’s passage through Congress this year.

    “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help liberalise trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries,” says Mr Key. “It will provide better access for goods and services to more than 800 million people across the TPP countries, which make up 36 per cent of global GDP.

    “For New Zealand, it’s estimated it will boost our economy by at least $2.7 billion a year by 2030. It will help diversify our economy and create more jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders.

    “And the reality is that these benefits will grow as other countries join the TPP – a number have already signalled an interest in doing so.”

    Mr Key says while some in the US might not think the TPP is the perfect deal, the idea that it can be renegotiated to get a better outcome is unrealistic. 

    “The region will not wait for you. Asian countries are determined to grow and they realise to grow they need to remove trade barriers. This will happen with or without the United States.” 

    Mr Key says the benefits of the TPP are wider than just economic.

    “Free trade agreements not only lift exports and create jobs they also help solidify political relationships and help increase security.

    “The TPP is important in maintaining the United States leadership and influence in the Asia Pacific region. I urge them to do all they can to get the TPP over the line.”

  • 26 Sep 2016 4:52 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Education Minister Hekia Parata says her meetings with education experts and leaders in the United States confirmed that New Zealand’s education system is a world-leader in preparing young people for the 21st century.

    Ms Parata joined international education experts and leaders, including OECD Secretary-General, Dr Angel Gurria and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, for discussions at the Asia Society Center for Global Education in New York.

    “The Center is focusing on how education systems can build global competencies and global citizenry among students all over the world. New Zealand’s focus on a broad and diverse curriculum that develops competent, confident and connected citizens was of great interest to the Center,” says Ms Parata.

    Another highlight was a meeting with Dr Craig Nevill-Manning, a New Zealander known on the world stage as a leading computer science educator and technological innovator. He established Google's first remote software engineering centre in Manhattan, and is now Chief Technology Officer at the company Sidewalk Labs.

    “Dr Nevill-Manning’s career is an inspiration to young New Zealanders studying science and technology subjects. He is a shining example of what science and technology students can achieve”.

    Dr Nevill-Manning is a former doctoral student of Professor Tim Bell at Canterbury University who has been a key advisor on making digital technology a core part of the New Zealand curriculum.

    Ms Parata also met with Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), an innovative US start-up that provides a platform for teachers to share curriculum resources with each other.

    “I was interested to hear that a significant number of New Zealand teachers are participating in TPT, both as users of the resources as well as some designers."

    Digital technology is a topic Ms Parata will explore further this week at the Global Education Industry Summit in Israel, a country known for technological innovation.

    “We have worked hard in New Zealand to ensure our schools have access to the best digital technologies available. We recognise that our children and young people need to be confident using a broad range of digital technologies. The Summit will be another opportunity to share our experiences, while exploring those of other countries.”

  • 04 Sep 2016 9:39 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has named new Consuls-General in Guangzhou, Los Angeles and Honolulu.

    Rachel Maidment will be New Zealand’s next Consul-General Guangzhou. Following a 10 year career as a diplomat, she established a leading Asia consultancy, Navigate, providing services to a wide range of government and private sector clients.

    “Guangzhou is one of China’s largest and most prosperous cities, and is now the centre for politics, business, innovation and culture in South China,” says Mr McCully.

    “As the third largest municipal economy in China after Beijing and Shanghai, the city is one of the main gateways for New Zealand’s burgeoning trade with China. Guangdong province is home to China Southern Airlines and a major source of tourists and investors.”

    Maurice Williamson will be appointed as Consul-General in Los Angeles. He has been MP for Pakuranga since 1987 and has held several Ministerial portfolios, including Science and Technology and Information Technology.

    “Mr Williamson will be responsible for engagement with US investors and innovators to ensure New Zealand policies and exporters remain at the leading edge of change,” Mr McCully says.

    “California and other western states of America are major export markets for New Zealand and important investment partners, particularly in added-value food and beverage and technology.  The United States is New Zealand’s largest market for intellectual property-based exports, and those exports will continue to grow strongly.”

    Karena Lyons will be the next Consul-General in Hawaii and will also be New Zealand’s accredited Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and Republic of Marshall Islands. She is a diplomat who served in New York during New Zealand’s United Nations Security Council campaign and most recently as an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    “The Consulate-General in Honolulu is a vital post for managing New Zealand’s relationship with the United States in the Pacific region,” Mr McCully says.

    “As the home of the United States Pacific Command, Honolulu is the focal point for US engagement in the Asia Pacific region.

    “Ms Lyons will also be responsible for managing our development, fisheries and disaster risk management work in the northern Pacific.”

  • 19 Aug 2016 10:31 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The 17th annual AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards were held at the Pullman Auckland Hotel last night, with Douglas Pharmaceuticals winning the Supreme Award for trade with the United States.

    Award judging panel member, Alex Broughton said “Douglas demonstrates a very high standard of business strategy, operation and performance. The establishment of Douglas Pharmaceuticals America in 2003 to sell generics into the US pharmaceutical market has delivered standout growth with Douglas Pharmaceuticals on track to grow their global sales to $244m by 2020. The Judges also noted that Douglas Pharmaceuticals are committed to continuous Innovative R&D investment”.

    Mark Foy, Country Manager for DHL Express New Zealand, who announced the supreme winner, said: “Douglas Pharmaceuticals epitomises the Kiwi success story and reflects the entrepreneurial and innovative businesses that are experiencing on-going growth trading with the U.S. As a rapidly-expanding pharmaceutical company with a reputation for high manufacturing standards, Douglas Pharmaceuticals has grown their export business into the U.S. in a relatively short timeframe and we congratulate them on their success.”

    The Supreme Award is chosen from the winners of each of the categories presented on the night. The complete list of winners is as follows:

    • Importer of the Year from the USA: Ford Motor Company of New Zealand Ltd
    • Investor of the Year to or from the USA: Baxter Healthcare Ltd
    • Exporter of the Year – under NZ$1 million: Heilala Vanilla Ltd
    • Exporter of the Year – NZ$1 million – $10 million:  Aranz Medical Ltd
    • Exporter of the Year – over NZ$10 million: Douglas Pharmaceuticals Ltd
    • Trevor Eagle Memorial Award – AmCham Supporter of the Year: Everedge Global (NZ) Ltd
    • Eric & Kathy Hertz Award for Citizen Diplomacy: Bodeker Scientific Ltd
    • Supreme Award Winner:  Douglas Pharmaceuticals Ltd


    This year’s award finalists were some of the strongest AmCham has seen in the last seventeen years and the judges decided to award a number of Highly Commended certificates. These were presented to:
    Autogrow Systems Ltd
    Howick Ltd
    ExportX Ltd
    Constellation Brands New Zealand
    WhereScape Software Ltd

    The AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards celebrate success and innovation in the export, import and investment sectors between New Zealand and its third-largest trading partner, the USA.  Winners of the importer, exporter and the Eric & Kathy Hertz award categories receive 100,000 airline miles from Hawaiian Airlines. 

    In addition to AmCham, DHL-Express and Hawaiian Airlines, the Awards are also supported by 3M New Zealand, Baldwins, Fonterra, Prescient Marketing & Communications, The Pullman Auckland Hotel, media partner The Business, and wine sponsor Fine Wine Delivery Company.

    Other previous winners of the Supreme Award include Zespri International, Specialist Marine Interiors, Peace Software, Airways Corporation, HumanWare, Tenon, Zeacom, Pratt & Whitney Air New Zealand Services t/a Christchurch Engine Centre, Fonterra Co-operative Group, Buckley Systems, Vista Entertainment, Greenshell New Zealand, Orion Health and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

  • 22 Jul 2016 4:26 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Government House, Auckland, New Zealand 21 July 2016

    PRIME MINISTER KEY:  Okay, so good morning.  Can I start by acknowledging the Vice President?  We’re delighted to have you in New Zealand, sir.  And it’s great to have you here.  

    The relationship between New Zealand and the United States continues to strengthen, and your visit further reinforces the long-standing friendship between our two countries.  We have just concluded a very useful meeting where we covered a number of international issues of shared interest. 

    We spoke about our commitment to working together to address some of the significant threats to international peace and security that we face today – in particular, the threat of ISIL, its brand of terrorism, and its incitement to violence against innocent civilians is of significant concern.

    The recent attacks in Nice, Brussels, Baghdad and Florida are just some of the horrific examples of why we need to work together in the global effort to defeat ISIL.

    New Zealand recently extended our training deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These compliment the extensive efforts of the United States and others to counter the threat of international terrorism and to assist governments in the Middle East to bring stability to their countries.

    We discussed the ongoing tragic events in Syria, and I acknowledged the efforts of the United States to bring some stability back to that country.  New Zealand is doing all it can in its role on the U.N. Security Council to support the people of Syria.  

    The Asia Pacific region is of particular focus for both countries, and we talked about how we might be able to cooperate further, in particular on security capacity building.

    New Zealand is looking to increase its efforts in the region on countering violent extremism, preventing the movement of foreign terrorist fighters, and stopping the financing of terrorism.  

    I welcome the increased attention the United States is paying to this part of the world.  New Zealand’s commitment to playing its part in strengthening global security was also reflected in recent discussions and decisions to increase funding for our intelligence and defense capabilities.

    The Vice President also confirmed that the United States has accepted our invitation to participate in the 75th Anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy and intends to send a ship to these celebrations.  I’m naturally and obviously pleased that they’ve accepted.

    The International Naval Review is an important occasion for us, and we hope to have many of our friends here to celebrate alongside us.  Both countries and both governments also remain committed to advancing trade opportunities.  We discussed our respective progress towards ratifying TPP, as well as the importance of the agreement and helping to lead economic integration efforts in the region. 

    We were also able to discuss more technical bilateral issues affecting trade, including New Zealand’s desire to see an improvement in business visa access to the United States. 

    My recent trip to Europe and the UK and Indonesia also featured including the trade opportunities and challenges as a result of Brexit.  And we discussed last week’s Arbitration Tribunal decision on the South China Sea.  While New Zealand does not take a position on the various territorial claims, we have consistently said that the differing interests in the region should be managed peacefully and in accordance with international law.  It is New Zealand’s view that it’s in all parties’ interests to ensure that the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea is respected.  And we hope that the tribunal’s ruling can provide a platform for resolving these issues. 

    New Zealand and the United States are both committed to supporting efforts to find peaceful solutions to these long-standing and very complex issues. 

    Finally, I explained the Vice President why New Zealand believes Helen Clark is the best candidate for the U.N. Secretary General’s role.  This firmly held view is based on her track record as Prime Minister of New Zealand and her leadership of the UNDP.  We believe she would bring strong and pragmatic leadership to the organization and an ability to work constructively with the U.N. membership.

    So today has been a valuable opportunity to discuss a range of issues of importance to both countries.  I’d like to thank the Vice President for taking time to visit New Zealand.  The friendship between our two countries reflects our common values and shared interests, and the relationship has never been stronger.

    Thank you once again.  Mr. Vice President, I offer the opportunity to speak.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.  And by the way, I’m not going home.  (Laughter.)  What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful country.  You have a beautiful setting.

    Good afternoon, everyone.  I am so pleased to be here in New Zealand.  And I want to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for the welcome you extended to me and to my granddaughters who are with me.  And I’m also honored to receive a tradition Maori welcome before our meeting.  They made me a genuine hero with my granddaughters.  And earlier today, I got to meet a few real New Zealand heroes – two of the members of the All Blacks.  I am a – 400 years ago I played rugby when I was in law school, and I played college – American football.  And I was telling them, the two representatives of the All Blacks that came to see me this morning, Mr. Prime Minister, that my brother was a rugby player, as well.  And one day when I was a young senator during a recess period, he said, the All Blacks are playing four matches in Ireland.  And so we packed up, and we followed them all through Ireland.  There was nothing but carnage left behind.  (Laughter.)  But I am a real fan.

    And I also want to extend my appreciation to all the people of New Zealand for the incredible hospitality our very short visit has generated.

    The United States and New Zealand, as the Prime Minister pointed out, have made incredible progress in our bilateral relationship during the Obama-Biden administration with you, Mr. Prime Minister.  And we signed early on the Wellington Declaration in 2010, and two years later, the Washington delegation – the Washington Declaration to rebuild closer ties between our nations.  

    And today we take another major step to further our friendships.  It’s with great pleasure and honor, Mr. Prime Minister, the United States does accept – gladly accepts the invitation to send a ship to the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th celebration this November.  And it will be another expression of our close and cooperative relationship between both of our countries that we’ve worked together so hard to strengthen.

    Mr. Prime Minister, we both discussed, as you point out, a wide range of issues where New Zealand and the United States are working together as we speak; starting with economic cooperation.  Our trade and our investment relationship is steadily growing.  We’re doing more business together, investing more in each other’s countries.  And together, we have led the way in creating high-standard trading agreements that are necessary to uphold the liberal economic order of this new century; agreements that protect workers’ rights, preserve the environment, and significantly safeguard intellectual property.  

    And the vast economic potential here in the Asia Pacific exists, and this is – my guess is the 21st century will be marked by the progress made in the Asia Pacific region.  But unlocking it depends on how well we manage differences that exist in the region peacefully and how we maintain stability that is essential to economic growth.

    That’s why both of our nations have issued statements – urging China and Philippines to abide the Arbitration Tribunal’s ruling last week regarding the South China Sea.  And both our nations understand that continued peace and prosperity in Asia is incumbent upon our ability to protect the environment.  So New Zealand and the United States are working together to put this plan on a more sustainable path, to address climate change, and to also increase our role with the goal you have so significantly set of renewable energy – 81 percent of our energy is now renewable.  That far exceeds where we are, but is a goal that we are attempting to achieve, as well.

    On the security front, the Prime Minister and I reiterated our commitment to work as partners to promote peace and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief throughout the region.  Together, we are strengthening the region’s ability to address challenges both through multilateral institutions.  New Zealand is an incredibly valuable partner in the U.N. Security Council, a committed contributor to the counter-ISIL coalition.  And we stand united against the evil that these terrorists promote around the world.

    And I said somewhat humorously to Prime Minister that I wish we had the partisan zeal – nonpartisan zeal that you have.  If the potential nominee for – become Secretary General could hear what the opposition had to say, I was impressed.  I thought she was his sister.  (Laughter.)  It was amazing.  But all kidding aside we have very high regard for your nominee, and she is one that is being closely considered.


    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  But the most important connection between our nations has always been our people.  Americans and Kiwis are cut from the same cloth fiercely independent and tenacious.  And if you excuse, as we used to say in the United States Senate, a point of personal privilege, I grew up hearing about the Kiwis from my grandfather Finnegan, who lost one of his sons in New Guinea and another son came back very badly injured.  But every time the Kiwis were mentioned, he literally would straighten his shoulders, and the same with the Aussies.  The regard that New Zealand is held in in the United States – I doubt whether any of you who’ve visited the United States have ever, ever received anything other than a warm welcome.  There is a real genuine affection for New Zealand in the United States.

    My only hope is that there’s a significant affection for the United States here.  

    But we don’t always agree.  But what we do is we share the same basic values of promoting freedom, equality, and opportunity.  

    And it’s that kinship of spirit that drives our nations’ desire – and capacity – to work together to make the world a better place.  And presumptuous of me to say but I think that’s exactly what we’re doing together. 

    From scientific research we conduct together in the Antarctic, to our shared efforts to protect the Ross Sea.  From our commitment to promoting democracy and good governance around the world, to our shared efforts to end the scourge of violence against women, our nations accomplish more because we’re moving together.  It matters.  The whole is bigger than the sum of the parts when we cooperate, Mr. Prime Minister. 

    And on this trip I traveled first to Hawaii, and I joined a trilateral meeting with our Japanese and South Korean allies and observed our ongoing Rim of the Pacific exercises; to Australia after that where I discussed everything from security cooperation around the world to our shared fight to end cancer as we know it.  And we signed three memorandums of understanding on cancer cooperation and the Moonshot that the President is initiating at home; and to New Zealand where the Prime Minister and I have once reaffirmed our commitment to expanding this relationship between our two nations.  

    It’s been from our perspective an outstanding trip.  And at every stop I have framed to our closest partners in the region the incredible importance that the United States places in the Asia Pacific.  We are a Pacific nation.  The United States is a Pacific nation.  We are not going anywhere.  We are here to stay.  And we will continue to work closely with all of our friends throughout the region because there’s such overwhelming potential from China to New Zealand, from India to Japan.  There’s such enormous potential in this region.

    It’s been a productive visit, an important opportunity to celebrate what unites all of our people.  And I believe that our nations are only going to grow closer as we continue to work together in the 21st century.  

    I said to the Prime Minister and his colleagues as we met, this is the hundredth anniversary of William Butler Yeats’ poem Easter Sunday 1916, which commemorates the First Rising in the 20th century in Ireland.  And there’s a line in Yeats’ poem that he used to describe his Ireland at the moment, but I think better describes the world as we greet it today and why it’s so important we stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

    He said, “All’s changed, changed utterly.  A terrible beauty has been born.”  

    The world has significantly changed in the last 15 years.  We have a chance.  And great moments of change, which have only occurred in the last century and a half on three occasions, when it occurs, we have a chance to mold the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years if we’re smart, if we work hard, if we, in fact, act with likeminded nations who share the same values of democracy, openness, working together.  

    And so, Mr. President – excuse me, I just demoted you.  Mr. Prime Minister, thank you –

    PRIME MINISTER KEY:  You might have promoted me – the country. 

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, thank you so much for the hospitality.  And may God bless our countries and may Got protect our troops.  Thank you so very, very much.

    Q    Mr. Vice President, will you take a couple of questions?

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Apparently that’s not on the agenda, but why don’t you shout something on your way out.  

    Q  (Inaudible)?

    THE VICE PRESIDENT:  I do.  I think in the lame duck session we have a real chance for that happening.  The lame duck means after this general election takes place in November and before the Congress adjourns.  I’m hopeful.  Thank you.

  • 21 Jul 2016 1:20 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Prime Minister John Key says the United States has accepted an invitation to send a ship to attend the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary later this year.

    “Vice-President Joe Biden confirmed in our discussions today that the US has accepted the invitation and intends to have a ship represent the US Navy at this event,” Mr Key says.

    “We are naturally pleased the US is taking up the invitation. It is a further demonstration of the strength of our close relationship, our friendship and our shared values.

    “There is a long-standing process for considering ship visits under our nuclear free legislation. I will receive advice in due course to assist me in making a decision.

    “There is no specific time frame for this process but it is likely to be a number of weeks before the advice is prepared and the Government is in a position to make any further announcement.”